Monday, July 19, 2010

Book Review: The Math Book

The Math Book: From Pythagoras to the 57th Dimension, 250 Milestones in the History of Mathematics
by Clifford A. Pickover
New York: Sterling, 2009

I am not a math person, but I have a son who is. So, when I saw The Math Book: From Pythagoras to the 57th Dimension, 250 Milestones in the History of Mathematics mentioned in a homeschooling magazine, I knew it was one I needed to request from my local library. It is truly a fascinating book, and this is from someone who understands relatively little of it. The full page illustrations are beautiful and the text is interesting. Pickover has truly tried to make complex ideas understandable to the lay person. Organized chronologically, it is amazing to read how one discovery has led to another throughout the years. From a Christian perspective, I feel that it is yet more evidence for a God-created world because the mathematical laws that underscore it are so complex that they could never be random. An incredible intelligence created our world. For example, the first entry is on ants. Apparently, Saharan desert ants have built-in pedometers that allow them to count their steps in order to measure exact distances and find their way back home. That is amazing, and that is only the first page of this book. If you love math, you will love this book. If you don't understand complex math, you will still find it fascinating. I don't think anyone can come away from looking at this book without a deeper appreciation for the number systems that regulate our world.

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